This is the 1st installment in a planned 5-book series. You can pick up the first installment ASCENSION here.
Allan Young’s first time in such a vivid game setting sparked wonder in his eyes. His character sheet appeared in his augmented vision, the words hovering in mid-air.
Conquest: Player Stats
Name | @Helekith
Class | Warrior
Level | 1
Experience | 0
XP to next level | 50
HP | 100/100
Mana | 100/100
Strength |Total: 1 | Original: 1 | Level Ups: 0 | Bonuses: 0
Agility |Total: 1 | Original: 1 | Level Ups: 0 | Bonuses: 0
Stamina |Total: 1 | Original: 1 | Level Ups: 0 | Bonuses: 0
Intelligence |Total: 1 | Original: 1 | Level Ups: 0 | Bonuses: 0
Willpower |Total: 1 | Original: 1 | Level Ups: 0 | Bonuses: 0
Allan swiped away the stats and took in the beautiful view. He had never experienced augmented reality before, but he had also never expected the surroundings to feel so real.
Although, he felt he could have done with a little more clothes than a mere loincloth hanging around his waist, barely enough to cover his privates. And what was with the spear? He had no inkling of how to use that. In Real Life (RL) he was skilled with all manner of different firearms from his vast collection, but using such a primeval weapon — that was beyond his understanding.
Despite the lack of knowhow he clutched the spear’s shaft tight and looked around, marveling at the wondrous and serene lay of the land. He knew this world was fantasy, yet the realistic nature of it made him feel as though he had passed through a secret time portal to a world abandoned in the past. The green mountains, the thick canopy of a large swathe of trees that stretched for leagues on one side and the grasslands sloping down the other, the muddy roads — he felt enamored by it all. It was nothing like the view from his office window of downtown Chicago where he spent his days slaving away behind his desk. It all reminded him of his youth going on hikes and campouts with his Boy Scouts troop. He missed spending time in nature.
Birds chirped in the hour of dusk, returning to their nests, trying their best to avoid the shadows of night. They almost seemed fearful of the moon and the twinkling stars above, very much preferring the bright sun and its warm rays shining in the sky. In the twilight, the hour between light and dark, the world around looked so beautiful that he felt perfectly happy, as though he didn’t want to ever log out of Conquest. It was calm and relaxing; RL had become too toxic of late. Life as a securities attorney was mundane, and boring. It was also because of that life that he had joined the game. He needed to escape.
Of course, his best friend was also to blame. Officer James Price had often tried to get him more into gaming, but he hadn’t given his advice much thought until recently when a particularly difficult case had made him want to run far away. And here he was, having escaped to another word inside Conquest, and thankful for it.
He looked around. His friend was nowhere in sight, and a sigh escaped his mouth. No shocker, though. James was always late.
Perhaps he hasn’t logged in yet?
Just as he thought this, a ruffling in some nearby bushes made him cautious. He turned, pointing his spear in the direction, wondering whether he could actually handle the weapon when it actually came to it. He took a bending stance, looking almost like a primate on a hunt. Breathing hard, he moved forward, slowly.
Stick and point.
He was sure that was the rule, like it was with all close-range weapons. How could a spear be any different?
A squeak sounded and a four-legged creature covered in furlunged forward with its claws.
Threat Detected: Level 1 Rabbid
Strengths: These small rabbit-like creatures are rabid and can inflict an Instant Kill to lower-level players by biting them.
He staggered, taken aback by the sudden attack, but raised his spear just in time. A delay of a mere second and the creature would have mauled him. Instead, now, its skewered corpse rested on the shaft of his spear, the bloodied point having gone through its entire body.
Skill Unlocked: Impale
Delivers an Instant Kill when in close range. Chances of longer range accuracy are 25%. Greater chances for Instant Kill increase with higher levels. Requirements: Level > 1, Agility > 1, Stamina > 1, Intelligence > 1
Repulsed, he shook the corpse off of his weapon and wiped off the blood in the mud that was aplenty on the ground.
“Well, I call that a start!” a familiar voice said, coming up from behind.
He turned and saw his friend’s avatar approach, also wearing a mere loincloth. At first he didn’t recognize him, but then his augmented vision provided his handle: @DoomsDay16, which confirmed his identity.
“You’re finally here, and no help.” Allan said.
“I logged in just now, but I didn’t expect monsters to attack so fast.”
Allan smirked. “Perhaps this game is above you, James.”
“Never!” James scoffed. “I’ll learn the game faster than you, and that’s a bet you don’t want to have with me.”
Allan raised his hands in surrender. “Not betting against you, man!”
His friend laughed. “Coward!”
Allan’s eyes flared, but he kept quiet. He didn’t like anyone calling him a coward. But it was James, so he didn’t respond.
“Well, what are these creatures?” he asked.
His friend shrugged. “Some four-legged monsters, no doubt. All I know is we gotta complete quests and kill monsters. We’ll know what these are when we have the knowledge stones.”
“So you do know your game!”
“Of course, I do.” James scoffed, “Who plays a game without having researched it a little?”
“Kills the suspense, doesn’t it?” he asked.
“Depends on the person who’s playing.” James shrugged, “Me, nah. I love spoilers!”
“We move forward, meet more monsters, and kill them!”
Allan grunted. Meeting new monsters — now that was something he wasn’t looking forward to, but he guessed he had to. Oh, the irony. No matter the picturesque surroundings and the feeling of calm permeating the air, vicious danger was everywhere.
“We move ahead,” Allan said, agreeing.
It wasn’t like he could object. He didn’t want to be alone.
© Copyright 2016, 2017 R. M. Mulder. All rights reserved.